Claire Jiménez has won the 2024 PEN/Faulkner Award for What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez.

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April 2, 2024, 3:26pm

Today, the PEN/Faulkner Foundation announced the winner of the 2024 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction: Claire Jiménez’s What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez (Grand Central).

What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez was chosen by a panel of judges (Xochitl Gonzalez, Alan Michael Parker, and Lynn Steger Strong) from a pool of 445 novels and short story collections written by American authors and published in the US in 2023. “Claire Jiménez has crafted a visceral work of art full of nuance, humor, and humanity, through incisive and loving character work, the finely calibrated unspooling of narrative, and the exquisite deployment of language, ranging from poetic prose to Spanglish to the sociolect of working-class Staten Island,” said this year’s judges in a statement. “A marvelously rendered novel about women, dangers to women, and our strength, What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez is a complex portrait of resilience, full of life: anger, laughter, sorrow, and love.”

“I began writing this story a decade ago, a strange tale about the disappearance of a Puerto Rican girl from Staten Island and the women in her family who cannot stop looking for her,” said Jiménez in a statement. “This novel is not only about a missing girl but also missing stories. I am so grateful to the PEN/Faulkner Foundation and the judges for honoring the voices of the Ramirez women, and I cannot wait to celebrate the extraordinary books of my fellow finalists at the award ceremony in May.”

Jiménez will receive an award of $15,000. The other finalists—Jamel Brinkley, for Witness; Henry Hoke, for Open Throat; Alice McDermott, for Absolution; and Colin Winnette, for Users—will each receive $5,000.

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